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As announced last week, The New York Times will issue on June 24 (two weeks from to-day) a special number of its Saturday Review devoted to books for Summer Reading. One Hundred such books have been selected from the books of the past twelve months and with each title will be printed a descriptive notice. The endeavor has been to restrict the selection to the best books for Summer reading that have been published during the period named.

The Saturday Review will be enlarged for this occasion to double its usual size--that is it will comprise 32 pages--and the variety of reading matter, aside from this special feature, will be large and striking. The New York Times, including this double number of The Saturday Review, will be sold for One Cent.

It seems safe to say that The New York Times here offers the largest amount of good reading matter ever sold for one cent. Readers have in large numbers expressed surprise that so much can be given for so little. But the surprise is not theirs alone; it is also ours. Bearing in mind all that goes to the making of those two publications sold as one--the editorial skill and knowledge, the business management, the composition, the printing, the white paper, and all the rest, have we not here one of the marvels of this age? The Times is not alone surprised. Readers will be glad to know that the results have also pleased it.

--the June 10, 1899 teaser.

While we're waiting for the main feature to begin, dwell on that salesmanship for a moment. The management! The composition! The whiteness of the paper! Yes, 1899 was a real annus mirabilis. Paper quality may seem particularly silly to modern readers, who are spoiled by their slick glossy magazines, but remember this was back when the Post was printed on a barely-processed dark brown husk...strictly from the bark, dammit! It took a special machine to fold that type of paper, and it took an engineering student from an accredited school to read it without breaking it into dangerous, jagged shards and splinters. Out-of-work young men with degrees would hire themselves out to run around the city helping people read the paper, and the demand so outstripped the supply that if you didn't get what you were looking for in a five minute window, you were hosed...unless you paid the "golden time" rate.

All this ended with the Times and their soft white easy-on-the-eyes/easy-on-the-hands paper. Such were the miracles of the modern age. One hand gives, the other takes away.

And the reason The Times was surprised at the whiteness of their own paper was because they ordered a few reams of lurid purple instead, because to stand out in a crowded market, you do what you have to do. And to jerk around the guys at the mill.

Anyway, all this nonsense is a distraction from a more serious strain of nonsense I'll roll out in a few weeks. This is your second warning. And if you're still not sure what the "it" in the title is, I'll explain it after Ahab's gone. It'll probably happen well before June 24, if I can keep up the pace. Grab the feed. It'll tell you when the real fun starts.


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